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Narrow Gauge and Other Interesting Railways

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British Military Railways


Bicester Military Railway


It seems as though this railway is all but abandoned. It appears that way when travelling through the site. If anyone knows any better, it would be good to hear from you. I have seen pictures on the internet, with notes about the railway, which say that it was last used in 2014.

I only came across the railway by accident as I explain in my blog:


I have been aware of the Longmoor Military Railway for some time now.


I knew nothing of the Bicester Military Railway until my wife and I had part of a weekend in the area. We were travelling along the M40 and using Satnav and we noticed an interesting area off to the East of the motorway which was just visible on the Satnav. Our initial thought was that there might have been some opencast workings in the area.


Much of the military site has been sold off. The northern half of Graven Hill Depot is now an estate of plots for self build homes! (https://www.gravenhill.co.uk)



Ashchurch MOD Railway and Railway Station


I was reading a book by Neil Parkhouse and looking at a series of photographs of the historic station at Ashchurch which was demolished as part of the fall out from the cuts associated with Dr. Beeching.


Apart from feeling a sense of dismay that the original station and its building, together with the branch-lines it served, has been lost for ever, I noticed a reference to a siding serving MOD Ashchurch and decided to investigate.


DE&S Ashchurch, known locally as "Ashchurch Camp", was the UK MOD's primary vehicle storage and distribution site for all types of armoured and soft-skinned vehicles, together with Royal Engineer bridges, boats and construction plant. The Centre was the only vehicle depot in the UK using Controlled Humidity Environments (CHE) for long-term vehicle storage.




MOD Ashchurch remains at risk of closure and its site is marked in the local authority plan for mixed development.



MOD Kineton and it's Railway History


I was challenged to look at MOD Kineton by someone who read my blog on Bicester Military Railway. This post is the result. ....




MOD Kineton developed as a depot in the Second World War. Construction began in 1941 and the depot came to occupy most of the land between Kineton and Temple Herdwyke. It was a Central Ammunition Depot, it also served during the war as a transit camp, with Polish and Czechoslovakian troops based there. 


The site continues in use into 21st Century. Much of the original railway and sidings at MOD Kineton has been removed but the depot continues to be rail-served and to have a significant internal rail network.

Edited by cteno4

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British Docks and Harbours Railways


Lydney in Gloucestershire


My wife and I enjoy an annual holiday in the Forest of Dean. We have been there almost every year since the year 2000. During that time we have enjoyed exploring a number of the different railway routes in the forest and have begun to realise just how complex a network of tramways supported the standard gauge railways which themselves had replaced much earlier tramways. I hope to provide a thread in due course about these railways and tramways.

This post focusses on Lydney Harbour and its transport links, particularly rail and tramway/tramroad. ...



King's Lynn, Norfolk


King's Lynn was at one time one of the premier ports in the country. Trade with Europe was governed by the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages.


These posts are about a much later time in its history when it's harbour and docks were rail served.


I was 12 years old when we moved to King's Lynn in 1972 and we stayed there right through my teens until I left home for University in 1978. I have long thought about spending a little time reviewing the railway history of the town.


King's Lynn Harbour Branch


This first post covers King's Lynn Harbour Branch which left the mainline just before that line entered the town in South Lynn




The next few posts cover the Docks Branch.


King's Lynn Docks Branch - Part 1


The harbour branch left the mainline South of King's Lynn. The docks branch left the mainline close to King's Lynn Station. The post below includes a very short history of the harbour and docks and then covers the length of the branch from the station to John Kennedy Road.


King's Lynn Docks Branch - Part 2


The second part of a study on the Docks Branch in King's Lynn. ......


This post covers the area around the Alexandra Dock. A further post will follow to cover the railways around the Bentinck Dock.


King's Lynn Docks Branch - Part 3


This is the third post about the Docks Railway in King's Lynn.


The post covers the area around Bentinck Dock and has some detail about the Savage's Works on the East side of the dock. Savage's were internationally renowned for their steam-powered fairground attractions.


King's Lynn Docks Branch - Part 4


A few random bits and pieces which relate to the docks railways in King's Lynn ....

Edited by cteno4

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The Forest of Dean UK


My wife and I enjoy an annual holiday in the Forest of Dean. We have been there almost every year since the year 2000. During that time we have enjoyed exploring a number of the different railway routes in the forest and have begun to realise just how complex a network of tramways supported the standard vague railways which themselves had replaced much earlier tramways. I hope this thread will be of interest to some.


This is the first of a series of blog posts about the forest and its railways and tramways and focusses on Lydney Harbour and its transport links, particularly rail and tramway/tramroad. ...




Prior to the introduction of standard gauge railways in the Forest of Dean there was an extensive network of tramways or tramroads. These tramways were of a variety of gauges from 3ft 6in to 4ft. One of these was the Severn and Wye Tramroad. This post details the various branch and feeder tramways associated with this line. The tramway was replaced by the Severn and Wye Joint Railway. ...




Parkend in the Forest of Dean is currently the terminus of a preservation line, the Dean Forest Railway (http://www.deanforestrailway.co.uk). Historically it was a small through station on the Severn and Wye Joint Railway with a short branch to transhipment wharfs that allowed tramways to transfer good to the main line. Further back still t was the centre of some major forest industries which were heavily served by tramways. The first image on the blog below ius a map of the tramways at Park end in its prime as an industrial centre in the Forest.




There was a significant network of tramroads close to Parkend in the Forest of Dean.




Edited by cteno4

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Funicular Railways


Super Cannes


This post covers a now derelict funicular between Cannes and Super-Cannes in the South of France. Much of the infrastructure is still in place but it has been unused for years.






Grasse in Provence seemed to be a magnet for different railways and tramways. On particularly interesting piece of railway infrastructure was the funicular railway that took passengers between the PLM branch-line Station and the town centre of the old town of Grasse.



Edited by cteno4

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Rack Railways


Monaco to La Turbie


The rack railway between Monte Carlo (Monaco) and La Turbie in the South of France is now long-gone. It makes an interestign study in its own right:






My wife and I travelled along the The Rochers-de-Naye Line from Montreux in Switzerland in 2004 ..........




Brienz-Rothorn Bahn


In 2004, my wife and I travelled on this line. It was amazing! Here is a link to a few photographs and a video:




Schynige-Platte Rack Railway


Another 800mm rack railway which Jo and I travelled on in 2004 is the Schynige Platt Railway:



Edited by cteno4
Combined multiple posts

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Mombasa, Kenya - An Early Tramway


I have recently been working on a series of blog posts about the metre-gauge lines that served Kampala and Uganda from the East African coast at Mombasa. While doing research on the route of the Mombasa line, I came across photographs and, in particular, old postcards that showed traces of a tramway or trolley-way in the streets of Mombasa in the late nineteenth century. I thought it needed more research and this blog is the result.



Edited by cteno4
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The Metre Gauge Railway in Kenya and Uganda


My wife and I were in Uganda in April/ May 2018, I have been there a number of times before.


The national railway system is metre-gauge. I hope this first post is of interest to members of this forum. The history of the l;ine from Mombasa through Kenya and Uganda to Kampala and then on to Kasese is intriguing.




Other posts about the trip, but not railway related, can be found on this link:




This second post provides some more information about the history of what is often called 'The Lunatic Line'.


This third post  in the series starts the journey along the 'Lunatic Line'.


The 4th post in a series about Uganda Railways. This post covers the journey along the original Uganda Railway from Mazeras to Voi.


This is the 5th part of the story of the Uganda Railway. It covers the length from Voi to Ulu in Kenya.


Our journey along the 'Uganda Railway' continues. In this post we travel from Ulu into Nairobi and notice two branch-lines on the way.


This next post focusses on the station at Nairobi and its immediate environment.


We are gradually getting closer to the eastern border of Uganda! This is the next post in the series and covers the stretch of the line from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha .....

Another leg of the journey on the Uganda Railway.

The next two posts cover the length of the old Uganda Railway to Kisumu and Butere. Originally, this line was of significant strategic importance. Trains along the line provided access to Lake Victoria and the inland steamers that then provided access to the Great Lakes region and to Kampala via Port Bell.


The construction of the line from Nakuru to Kampala and beyond changed thing significantly and the old main line became a branch-line and has seen little traffic over recent years.


Before we return to Nakuru to follow the main line towards Kampala, one further post about the Kisumu line. There was a short branch which left the Kisumu to Nakuru line within the confines of Kisumu city. This post focusses on that line.

Back at Nakuru, we prepare ourselves to travel on to Kampala. This post takes us to Eldoret.

Eldoret is a junction station. The branch-line service to Kitale set off from Eldoret. We follow its route.

We really are now almost in Uganda! The is the last post focussing on the Uganda Railway in Kenya. It takes us from Eldoret to the border with Uganda at Malaba.

Sadly, in this post there is little evidence of locomotives. The line has seen little use over the years. I was very fortunate to be able to travel 1st Class all the way from Mombasa to Kampala in 1994. I had no idea at the time how fragile that service was.


With this post we have crossed the border between Kenya and Uganda. Just across the border in Tororo the mainline divides to give a Kampala/Kasese route via Jinja, and a Pakwach and Aria route via Soroti. The more northerly route through Soroti was perceived as the branch but it has been the route which has been refurbished first (in 2013).


We will follow the branch first.


Two more posts about the branch-line to Gulu and Arua. The first takes us from Soroti to Gulu.


The second covers the length to the end of the branch-line.


We have now returned to the mainline at Tororo and are heading on toward Kampala.


The story continues .... "We leave Tororo is a north-westerly direction following the contours on the north side of the Nagongera Road as far as Achilet (about 5 kilometres outside of Tororo). For the next 10 kilometres the railway stays north of the road until reaching Nagongera, or Nagongora, ..............


Of interest is the number of railway lines on the map between Tororo and Jinja. There is by far the greatest density of lines in Uganda.

Edited by cteno4

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Metre Gauge Railways in Provence - the Central Var Line


My wife and I travel each year to Nice or other towns/cities in Provence and on the Cote d'Azur. Out of these regular Autumn visits has grown an interest in the extensive network of metre-gauge lines which all were lost by the late 1950s with the exception of the Nice to Digne line.


I have been working on a series of blogs about the different lines.  


The post below is the first in a series about the Central Var line of Les Chemins de Fer du Sud de La France. ...




The second post in a series about the Central Var line in Provence:


There were a number of these metre-gauge lines in Provence. Only one is now left in operation.


The three lines included: the Central Var Line, which ran from Nice to Meyrargues; Le Macaron, which ran along the coast between Toulon and St. Raphael; and a line which headed into the Alpes Maritimes from Nice, eventually reaching Digne les Bains.


I hope to post about all three of these lines. This thread relates to the first of them. The lines will be covered in some detail.


This next post covers a tramway branch which linked with the Central Var line in Vence.




While of the same track gauge as the Central Var, the loading gauge for these trams and tramways was much narrower. It had to be to allow services on the narrow roads of the time.

Edited by cteno4

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